It was Saturday evening.
Every time I sat down to write about what is going on, I got distracted by a new devastating headline. It occurred to me that I wasn’t gonna be able to process this alone. I reached out to my homie Kashea, aka, The Hug Dealer. I met him around 2013 in Portland, OR where he and DJ XL had a radio show entitled Hugs n Shrugs. I’d go to the studio, listen to local hip hop and soul music, and drink beer until I could no longer be a good guest. That’s when things got silly as hell.
What I always loved about Kashea was that he knew how to give a good hug: firm, long but not creepy, dry, good smelling, and left you feeling warm inside.
So I knew he'd be the right person to discuss the world with right now. This was our conversation:
Blue: Why is the world broken?
Kashea: Because humans live on it.
B: What is wrong with humans?
K: Mass trauma with little inadequate psychological counseling? Poor diet? Whatever the underlying cause, we do have a knack for messing up the things around us.
B: But, for some reason, right in this moment, there is a surge in madness. Why has the proverbial pimple popped now? Was the adolescent skin of humanity not always full of bacteria?
K: Fear. I believe fear is the greatest and easiest human emotion. Stoking and preying upon that fear is the underlying cause of most of our problems. But, to be fair, the “days of old” were trash as well. We just have cameras now to record our trauma.
B: Why is fear so easy…what is the opposite of fear and why is it harder to lean into?
K: Fear is easy because of the unknown. The future is unknown. People’s true intentions are unknown. How we will react to certain stimuli is mostly unknown until it happens to us. Fear can take hold of you and without courage, it becomes overwhelming and spreads faster than any virus. You can have a group of people sitting together. Individually, they might be able to handle a scary situation. But if one person freaks out, another is going to be startled and try to figure out if they should be concerned about what freaked the other person out. Then, there is a domino effect of freak out.
Knowledge, wisdom, courage, and love are ways to fight this.
I will use myself as an example. I have a massive fear of bees and wasps. While driving this week, I felt something near my head and tried to brush it off. I managed to grab it and throw it away quickly because I thought it was a spider. Then, realizing it was a wasp, I panicked and almost crashed the van.
If I had better knowledge of wasps and how they operate, combined with better wisdom on how to react to the situation and the courage to handle it properly, I would have considered that the wasp is a crucial part of the eco system. My love for the eco system would have overcome my fear.
When we take the time to learn about the things we fear and how to deal with them courageously enough to handle the situation, we gain the wisdom to defeat fear. Then, we can appreciate things and people. So I guess I need to become a beekeeper. Shout out to bees too. Everything depends on them and we don’t value them like we should at all.
B: Gentleness, feminine energy, love…these things are out of balance and it’s too much. It’s too much imbalance.
K: Many ancient indigenous religions understood the balance between the male and the female. I believe that over thousands of years, religions have been used to justify the persecution of women just as it was used to justify the persecution of people based upon skin tone. It’s just that the mistreatment of women has been normalized for so long that seeing feminine empowerment feels like it is not normal. And if you peel away the religious and social norms surrounding suppression of the woman, you’re left with the core. There’s a Futurama quote that perfectly sums up why men mistreat women: “I’m bigger than you and I can beat you up.”
B: What is our responsibility as humans? Because, let’s face it: if we
K: I believe that if we strip away the layers we were told to wear, we can comprehend the things outside of our boxes. We have to be willing to sit with the fear long enough to understand that which scares us. I had to unlearn much of what I was taught; the social/religious roles that I had been assigned. I had to let go of these in order to grow to be a better person. Lots of people are afraid that their growth process will upset their loved ones. That fear of ostracism from loved ones keep many people in a shell and they die inside. They let others’ expectations rule them and they are crippled.
But if your loved ones don’t support your growth, are they really your loved ones…or are they just trying to control you because they are afraid of being left alone in a shell they never wanted to inhabit?
After our chat, I knew what I had to do. If knowledge, wisdom, courage, and love were the weapons needed to fight, then I wanted to courageously equip everyone I knew with empowering ammunition. Here is what I wrote. Thanks, Kashea, for being there.